NEWS NOTES: February 12, 2015

News NotesHere are some items that you might find of interest:

1. In the heavily Catholic nation of Poland, voters in the city of Slupsk have elected the country’s first openly gay mayor, reports Rappler.com.  Robert Biedron won 57% of the vote in a run-off election.

2. After a four-year legislative debate, Chile has passed a law creating domestic partnerships that will include same-gender couples, reports The New York Times.  The Catholic hierarchy has had a heavy influence on Chilean politics.

3. The city of Rome, Italy, has created a registry for civil unions, including same-gender couples, reports PinkNews.com.  A follow-up story on the news website said that a Catholic official called the move “an ideological bluff. ”

4.The Catholic identity of St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas, was the focus of a recent article in the campus newspaper.  The following paragraphs were used to illustrate:

“Unlike the idea that many might have, even as they attend St. Edward’s, Catholicism does not reject anyone based on sexuality.

“St. Edward’s in particular makes this clear. In fact, St. Edward’s makes sure to keep and make their LGBTQ community feel welcomed.

“Dr. Alexandra Lynn Barron, a professor of the Freshman Studies program and previous advisor for the PRIDE Club on campus was concerned about the possibility of misunderstanding between students and the school on the subject of the university’s acceptance of LGBTQ students.

“ ‘Campus Ministry is a big supporter of PRIDE and our LGBTQ students. They’ve planned events with us including a vigil for queer youths around the country lost to suicide and they attend PRIDE events regularly,’ Barron said. ‘It’s true that sometimes the Catholic Church’s teachings can be challenging for some of us around queer issues, but on our campus we find ways to work together.’ “

5.  In a New York Times op-ed essay entitled,  “Can the Church Return to the Faithful?” transgender advocate Jennifer Finney Boylan laments the fact that almost all of her 25 Catholic adult cousins have left the church because of the institution’s all-too-often unwelcoming stance.

6.  A traditionalist Catholic missionary community has bought one of Paris’ well-known gay bars, and they plan to convert it to a church facility, reports London’s Independent newspaper.  The Texas Bar, in the heavily gay Toulon district, will serve as a facility for the nearby parish, Eglise Saint Francois de Paule.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

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